Return to story
BY SCOTT SHENK
Sherri Hardesty loves the extra business she gets from the ever-increasing traffic at Boswell's Corner in northern Stafford.
It's the constant car crashes and crazy driving she could do without.
She and her husband, Paul, own Boswell's Corner Antiques & Collectibles, which stands at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Telegraph Road.
They were among about 60 people who attended a public meeting Thursday during which Federal Highway Administration officials talked about two projects aimed at fixing congestion problems in the area.
"On my corner, there are accidents all the time," Sherri Hardesty said.
And, she added, some impatient drivers cut through her shop's parking lot to avoid waiting at the traffic light.
Alicia Reebel, who has lived in Stafford's Widewater area for 24 years, echoed those sentiments.
"This is one treacherous little intersection," she said while looking at a placard for one of the two projects, both of which are still in the study phase.
There are constant traffic congestion problems in the Boswell's Corner area, primarily because of development, commuters and the addition of federal office space as part of BRAC, commonly known as the base realignment and closure program.
The BRAC program already has brought nearly 3,000 new federal workers to the area. They are based at the new Russell-Knox Building off Telegraph Road, on the west side of U.S. 1.
There also are new buildings at the Quantico Corporate Center on U.S. 1 just north of Telegraph Road.
Because of BRAC's impact, the FHA will be handling improvements to U.S. 1 and the Telegraph Road intersection.
Those who attended Thursday's meeting got a chance to talk with officials and see placards detailing the study areas.
Few details were available, but the meeting was held so officials could get comments and ideas from people who use the roads every day, said FHA's Jack Van Dop, the project manager.
"Tell us what we don't know," he said during the meeting. "You live here and drive this corridor every day."
The studies will help guide the improvement projects.
The Telegraph Road intersection project has $4 million in federal funding. There are no designs yet, but construction could start later this year and be finished by late 2013.
The U.S. 1 work is still in the early study stages, with no definitive timeline and no funding.
The U.S. 1 project area starts at Boswell's Corner and stretches to the Triangle area in Prince William County.
Details aren't set, but a key aspect of the work would include widening U.S. 1.
Similar work is nearly completed in the Triangle area. That project widened U.S. 1 from four lanes to six.
During a Q&A session Thursday, several residents worried that widening U.S. 1 at Boswell's Corner would lead to speeding drivers, something they said is already a problem.
Others said the real traffic problems are on State Route 610.
After the meeting, Paul Hardesty said backups can stretch from Route 610 to Telegraph Road, more than three miles.
"It can take an hour to get to 610 sometimes," he said.
Van Dop told the group that Route 610 is beyond the study area, but added that officials would take it into consideration.
He said the FHA plans to hold another meeting in September. Officials may also meet with property owners who will be affected by the projects.
Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier said after the meeting that he's interested in learning more details.
But he thinks the work could be positive for the region and perhaps lead to some redevelopment.
"I think this is gonna help the area," he said.
Roads will need improvement, he added, because the Quantico Corporate Center is going to continue to grow.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
What: Improvements to the Boswell's Corner intersection at U.S. 1 and Telegraph Road..
Why: To improve traffic flow, primarily during peak times, and safety on U.S. 1 and at the intersection, primarily caused by growth from BRAC, commonly known as the federal base realignment and closure program.
Funding: $4 million in federal money is set aside for the project.
Timeline: Design and construction could begin by the end of the year and be completed by late 2013.
Why: To improve traffic flow and safety issues on U.S. 1, primarily caused by growth from BRAC.
Funding: No money is approved for the project at this point.
Timeline: Currently in the study phase; could have concepts developed by September.